Replacing Higher-educated Nurses with Cheaper Staff

At first, we thought this had to be a parody. Surely Gomerblog was behind this. This couldn’t be real. But it is. Granted this article is from Canada but look at the absolute hypocrisy in these statements:

  • One recommendation is to reduce the number of registered nurses (RNs) in favour of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or healthcare aides, or reduce staffing levels overall, which could save up to $322 million. 
  • “I absolutely agree that costs have to be reduced … but making the changes the way they’re suggesting will actually, the research has shown, cause an increase in workload and increased costs indirectly in terms of length of patient stay and complications.”
  • Carter-Snell said while RNs are more expensive, they have two years more education than LPNs which helps with the complex multi-system problems many patients have — especially the elderly. 
  • She said a simple example is a situation where a patient appears to be going into shock. An LPN would know how to administer the fluids and monitor vital signs, but may not recognize a patient has a heart-valve problem which would change some details of the intervention — or lead to complications and further care being required.
  • Carter-Snell said LPNs receive two-year training that RNs used to receive. 
  • “We’re not recognizing that with the RNs versus the LPNs, they work wonderfully together, but they have different skill sets. They can both do the same tasks in most cases, but it’s the critical thinking, the complex problem-solving and the deeper path of physiology and pharmacology that they’re applying to these acute patients.”
  • “It’s not simply a matter of an accountant saying if we change this, we can get cheaper care. That doesn’t mean you’re getting better care. In fact, I suggest you won’t but you will get perhaps cheaper care.”


Pot meet kettle.

And for the record, we agree with the RN quoted above. LPNs are not equal to RNs. They have less education and less training. Those things are important. Those things are critical.

The same holds true for NPs and PAs as compared to doctors. They are not equal.

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  8 comments for “Replacing Higher-educated Nurses with Cheaper Staff

  1. Aaron M. Levine,
    February 12, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Full frontal by Samantha Bee this past week did a bit on dental techs. They are licensed in a few states and provide dental services that are more available and cheaper than dentists do. they did a 5sec interview with the president of the ADA who basically barely got the words out about better training in dentists. The person talking, I don’t remember if it were Samantha Bee or not, said that this is not a valid argument as doctors recognize the care and cost savings with nurse practitioners.

  2. Bridget Reidy
    February 12, 2020 at 10:07 am

    Yes, we’ve almost skipped the NP phenomenon and have some provincial governments who think RNs can do our jobs in primary care. It doesn’t help that NPs are often called nurses.

    • Kay Victor-Adamczak
      February 13, 2020 at 5:40 pm

      But, you are nurses. You are regulated by nursing board’s not medical.

  3. Pat
    February 12, 2020 at 9:32 am

    “Well after all, LPN’s can do 90% of what RN’s do…”

    How long before the LPN lobby starts to claim that they are also “more caring” than the better-trained RN’s. Hasn’t that become the latest appeal of Big NP, that training is inversely proportional to nebulous “caring”, and that emotion is itself the greatest ability?

    • Dave
      February 12, 2020 at 10:43 am

      Turning this back to the LELT / Physician question, the flip side of this quote is this:

      The PA or NP that I work with can do 90% of what I do, but it’s that 10% that makes me *invaluable*!

      This is what everyone needs to recognize, and never forget!!!

      • Pat
        February 12, 2020 at 8:34 pm

        Kinda dumb for would-be physicians to go to all the bother and expense, huh Dave?

      • JoAnne Fox
        February 15, 2020 at 6:23 pm

        This NP says it’s more like 80%, but I agree totally. NP’s & MD/DO’s are *not* interchangeable.

  4. Rick
    February 12, 2020 at 8:16 am

    Man, we are really losing our grip on patient care. Logical extension: the janitors can check on patients as they clean the rooms.

Comments are closed.